South Africa’s least and most trusted professions

Politicians, insurance agents, police, journalists and taxi drivers are the least trusted professions in South Africa.

This is according to the Gfk Trust in Professions report for 2014, which researched trust in over 30 professions where people, directly or indirectly, can or must enter into relationships in their daily lives.

Around 28,000 interviews were carried out in 25 selected countries in Europe, North and South America, in the Asia/Pacific region and in Africa – including 1,194 people in South Africa.

On average, South Africans ended up being the most trusting across all professions measured, with 81% of respondents showing general trust across all professions.

The global average was 67%, with Argentinians showing the lowest level of trust, with 55%.

Global average trust
Global average trust

“Amongst the 26 countries examined, the average trust expressed in all professional groups is at its highest level in South Africa, with 81%. In view of the many sources of conflict in the very ethnically mixed country, this high level of trust appears surprising,” Gfk said.

“The problems range from the hardened fronts between employees and employers and the resulting to some extent violent strikes, via the fall in value of the national currency, the ‘Rand’, to racism against immigrants from other African countries.”

Gfk noted that trust in public professions is generally greater in countries in which a climate with little perceived corruption predominates.

However, there are exceptions: in Japan, people trust the public professions rather less, although they have a high CPI, so that only a low level of corruption is perceived.

“The opposite is reflected in South Africa, Indonesia and India, where trust in public professions is strong, despite a high level of corruption,” the report said.

Global highest trust rating
Global highest trust rating
Global lowest trust rating
Global lowest trust rating

Most trusted professions

Politicians are the least trusted across the globe, with an average trust value of 31% from all countries. Insurance agents (48%), Mayors (53%) and advertising specialists (56%) also ranked poorly.

On the top side, fire fighters are the most trusted profession in the world, with 90% of respondents indicating complete trust.

Nurses (89%), doctors (89%), teachers (88%) and pharmacists (87%) also ranked highly.

In South Africa, there is a high level of trust amongst most professions, with only a quarter (8) falling below 80% trust levels.

Bus drivers (75%), lawyers (73%), Mayors (69%), taxi drivers (68%) and journalists (65%) all showed lower trust levels.

Policemen (61%) are ranked ahead of insurance agents (57%) and politicians (43%) were ranked the lowest.

South Africa most trustworthy professions
South Africa most trustworthy professions

“61% of South Africans still have trust in the policemen; their relatively poor placing, however, can presumably most likely be traced to allegations of too harsh action – for instance, there are many deaths in police custody.”

Causes for the lack of trust in politicians are undoubtedly corruption, the complicated bureaucracy and a Government that, according to the media, engages itself too little in economic development, Gfk said.

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South Africa’s least and most trusted professions